The New Jersey Devils went into the Wednesday night before the holiday hoping to win their 14th straight game in their franchise record. They met a very good team in the Toronto Maple Leafs. The series is in serious jeopardy as the Devils trailed 2-0 in the third period.
It appeared the Devils finally broke Matt Murray’s shutout, but the goal was called off. Erik Haula had a nice one-timer next to Nathan Bastian’s pass. Murray came by with a ridiculous save. He left a juicy rebound and Haula ran towards the net. This all happened when the team was shorthanded, and when the Devils netted the puck, the arena erupted.
Haula’s goal was demanded with a clear shot movement. While that may be true, it seems like there’s no undeniable evidence that Haula wasn’t lacking. Toronto officials ruled it came from Nick Robertson’s cane, which again doesn’t appear like it was safe. I’m not sure if they follow NFL rules, but it doesn’t seem like that’s the proof threshold required to overturn a goal.
This was the THIRD goal taken off the board for the Devils. For those looking for the simple math, if all the pucks that went into the net were actually counted, the Devils would be in the lead.
There is an argument for both sides for all three missed goals. The law of averages says something should go the devil’s way, but it didn’t. When the third goal was missed, a very small subgroup of Devils fans reacted emotionally.
Let this be clear; Fans should never throw things on the ice. It’s stupid and puts everyone in danger. However, the reaction to this will be far greater than anything the Devils have done all season. Fans of other teams keep making Devils fans throw beer cans (which cost about $18 each) onto the ice. This will be the legacy for Devils fans this season until something else takes over.
It’s sad that the decision of maybe two dozen fans is changing the perception of the fanbase as a whole. Others will say this is what happens when a fandom first learns how to win. They’ll say this is typically New Jersey (which, to be honest, is an outlier). It is what it is at this point. Most fans didn’t partake in the idiocy.
In the end, the Devils lost the game. The winning streak is over and now there is a new narrative for this fanbase. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. It was a one-time mistake and no one was hurt. So let this be the last time we see something like this, even if it seems like the umpires aren’t on “our side”. Keep it classy and let this be a lesson.